Evolution of the European Council

2465 Words Jan 1st, 2013 10 Pages
Introduction
To fully appreciate the position of the European Council within the European Union we first took a brief look at how the European Union came about. The European project first started soon after the second world with the creation of the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) to harmonise relations between the Nations of Europe and to prevent any further conflicts of the scale of the wars that had preceded its creation. The new spirit of cooperation aimed to bring about a new era of peace and prosperity across Europe. The founding nations were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Luxemburg. The first enlargement came in 1973 when Ireland, Denmark and the United Kingdom joined the EU. Since then a further 18
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Step 4 came in the shape of the Amsterdam Treaty which reaffirmed the powers and responsibilities given to the Council within the Maastricht Treaty. It then extended these powers and responsibilities with regards to the EMU and CFSP.
The Nice Treaty was step 5 wherein it gave the Council the power to nominate the person to be put forward for the position of President of the European Commission.
The final and sixth step came in the form of the Lisbon Treaty when the European Council was established as a fully-fledged institution of the European Union. The Lisbon Treaty stated “The European Council consists of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States and is an official institution of the Union (Article I-21)” (Europa.eu, 2012). This treaty changed the structure of membership of the European Council. Before the Lisbon treaty the membership was a two tiered system. The first tier consisted of the heads of state or government of the member states and the president of the commission. The second tier consisted of the foreign ministers of each member state and one other member of the commission. Before the Lisbon treaty only two members per delegation were permitted to attend meetings of the council. This was to promote a more relaxed and informal atmosphere than that in council of ministers. Since the Lisbon treaty there is just one tier of membership consisting of heads of state, the European
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